Providence Takes On Portland at 7:05 Tonight at The Dunk
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (9-5-1-0, 19 PTS, 2nd Atlantic) play host to the Portland Pirates (12-1-1-0, 25 PTS, 1st Atlantic) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for their Rhode Island match-up of the 2008-09 season. The P-Bruins and Pirates have battled twice at Maine's Cumberland County Civic Center with the teams exchanging three goal victories.
Providence enters the contest riding a two-game home winning streak after a pair of victories last weekend but the club has yet to string together two straight wins overall since opening the season on a six-game point-streak. The P-Bruins' last eight games have alternated wins and losses. Portland, meanwhile, has won eight straight games and recorded points in 11 contests in a row (10-0-1-0) since falling to Providence at home 4-1 on October 19.
The Pirates' all-time record for most consecutive wins is 10, set in November 1996. Portland's offense, which ranks second in the AHL scoring more than four goals per game, has scored at least that many goals in seven of its last eight wins. Mathieu Darche has registered a goal in four straight games, scoring six over that span, including three game-winners, while several other players also have lengthy point-streaks. Mark Mancari, recalled to the National Hockey League's Buffalo Sabres this afternoon, shows an eight-game scoring streak, notching 15 points (7g, 8a), rookie Nathan Gerbe has a six-game run (5g, 6a), fellow first-year pro Tim Kennedy has points in four straight (2g, 5a) and Marek Zagrapan has tallied points in three games in a row (g, 3a).
The P-Bruins' roster was involved in several transactions during the week, begining with the release of left wing Mark Bomersback and defenseman Brett Motherwell Tuesday. On Wednesday, defenseman Matt Lashoff was recalled by the Boston Bruins, clearing the way for the return of Kevin Schaeffer, who spent much of 2007-08 in Rhode Island. He had been with the ECHL's Reading Royals. Today, goalie Kevin Nastiuk was recalled to Providence from the Gwinnett Gladiators, also of the ECHL, where he was 4-2-2 over eight games. Nastiuk spent time in the P-Bruins' training camp this year.
P-Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk paces the Providence offense with 18 points (4g, 14a) while Martins Karsums ranks close behind with 16 points and leads the squad with seven goals. Among active Pirates, Portland is led by rookies Kennedy, 21 points (5g, 16a), and Gerbe, 20 points (12g, 8a). Mancari leads Portland overall and ranks second in the AHL with 25 points (11g, 14a). All three Pirates sit in the top five in the league in scoring. In net, Tuukka Rask is 6-5-0 with a 2.78 goals-against-average for Providence while rookie Jhonas Enroth and Adam Dennis are each 6-1-0 for Portland. Both netminders have allowed fewer than three goals per game on average and have stopped better than 91% of the shots they have faced.
Through two games of an eventual 10 meetings, Karsums (2g, a), Darche (2g, a) and Kennedy (3a) lead all other scorers with three points. Rask is 1-1-0 between the pipes with a 3.01 GAA and .905 save percentage. For the Pirates, Dennis is 1-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA and .931 save percentage while Enroth is 0-1-0 with a 3.03 GAA.
On special teams, Providence is third in the AHL on the power play, converting 21.3% of the time, one percent better than Portland's fourth-place slot. Meanwhile, the P-Bruins have killed off 90.2% of the penalties they have been assessed, good for second in the league, while the Pirates rank ninth at 85.9%.
Providence Bruins Promotional Nights, sponsored by Dunkin' Donuts and your New England Dodge Dealers, continue tonight with a T-Shirt giveaway, courtesy of Urgent Care of Pawtucket and ABC6. The P-Bruins go on the road Saturday to face the Springfield Falcons at 7:00 p.m. at the MassMutual Center. On Sunday, Providence hosts the Hartford Wolf Pack at 4:05 p.m. for Jeremy Reich Poster Night.
To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Providence Bruins office at (401) 273-5000 or log on to the team website at providencebruins.com. Tickets may be purchased in person by visiting the Dunkin' Donuts Center Box Office or all TicketMaster outlets.